The 2016-17 NBA season doesn’t officially start for another month, but it unofficially tips back off this weekend. That’s right, preseason NBA basketball is back this Saturday, with two games getting us back into the swing of things.

Any preseason betting brings some risk, as star players tend to sit out or at best are limited, and you’re betting on young guys you don’t know, playing in games no one really cares about. There is still fun to be had and money to be made, however, so let’s break down both of Saturday’s games and see if anything can point us to a clear (and winning) bet:

Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors

At the time of this writing it’s unclear what the availability of stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and of course Kevin Durant will be for this game. Considering it’s the first preseason game, Curry is a likely sit candidate and it’s very possible all of these big name Dubs players don’t suit up at all for this meaningless contest.

The Raptors could easily play it that way, too, with stars like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan tough calls. DeMarre Carroll, one who dealt with a knee ailment all last year, would also be wise to sit this one out.

Needless to say, with so many player statuses up in the air, it’s tough to call this one. Toronto might have a mild edge with this game being in Canada, but Golden State’s depth and system probably win out here. If we’re truly set to see a bunch of bench guys duke it out, we’d have to favor the Warriors, who are among the deepest squads in all of basketball.

Toronto tends to slow things down and me a little more methodical on defense, so we can favor Golden State for the win, but aim for a lower scoring game than we might normally be accustomed to seeing out of the Dubs.

Pick: Warriors 97, Raptors 93

Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans

The story is the same for this game, as guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Anthony Davis will probably sit. Pellies star point guard Jrue Holiday is already away from the team due to health issues with his wife, while combo guard Tyreke Evans won’t play as he continues to rehab an injury. The Pelicans could be in a good spot at home if The Brow does suit up, but their lack of depth could be painfully obvious if he doesn’t play.

Dallas should rest guys who struggle with health, like Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, but we could see Harrison Barnes make his Dallas debut, as well as Seth Curry. If those two guys suit up, Dallas could get enough offense to snag the win here and get the preseason started off right.

Pick: Mavericks 101, Pelicans 96

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